Disneyland is supposed to be the epitome of wonder and magic for a toddler. Based on my experience; it isn’t.
It’s taken me a while to realize that great expectations are a recipe for disaster.
When embarking on a new and exciting destination with my kids, no amount of poop, throw-up or naughtiness should ever get in the way of good, old-fashioned family fun. It must be the Clark Griswold in me because when I’m with my family and we have a great day planned, we are going to have fun or die trying. And really, nothing is more fun than a mom demanding fun.
My first experience with family fun failure occurred at Disneyland. Sure, Disneyland is expensive but as “The Happiest Place on Earth”, it’s not unreasonable to expect family fun of an epic and unprecedented magnitude, right? It was 2005, my eldest was 3-years-old and this Disney trip was going to be the stuff Kodak memories were made of — because by golly, it was supposed to be.
From the moment we arrived at the park the day began to go downhill. It was as if my son decided Mercury was in retrograde and fun wasn’t in the stars — for anyone.
Two steps into Main Street USA I realized that Disneyland equaled sensory overload and sensory overload equaled a wicked bad mood.
So maybe it was stubbornness but I remained steadfast in my determination to have the perfect Disney experience. I tried everything — including, but not limited to — bribery, theft and vandalism (OK, not theft and vandalism but you get it).
I swear, in my most desperate moment I would have bought that child a pony if I thought it might get a smile out of him.
Want a cookie little boy?
Then, after 4 public meltdowns, it happened; he fell asleep.
No doubt, sleeping at Disneyland was the most expensive nap of his short life, but we were so spent we didn’t even care. We had renewed hope that he’d wake, realize where he was and the funnest fun ever would ensue.
Again, great expectations.
As you can probably guess, he awoke more sour than ever and I raised the white flag; it was time to go home, about 4 hours ahead of schedule.
We exited the park and hopped on the tram back to the parking garage only to find him grinning from ear to ear. He was having the time of his life on that stupid tram. Oh, we were so mad!
You know the kind of mad that leads you to laugh that hysterical and maniacal laugh? That was us, crazy laughing family on the tram. It was at that moment that I realized great expectations were not such a great idea.
From that day on, my son described his first trip to Disneyland as his “most best day ever.” Well, it was something all right.
For this reason, Disneyland can wait for BooBoo. I am in no hurry whatsoever to experience the magic with him. Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me (and my wallet).
What are your thoughts on Disneyland? Great for a toddler or an expensive mistake?
More on Toddler Times: